São Paulo has little to prove as one of South America’s artiest cities. Its streets bristle with galleries, and nowhere more so than in Pinheiros, where an eclectic set of spaces houses off-the-wall pop art, top quality street art, and a fine line of art photography, amongst other things.
We’ve picked out a cluster of galleries to give you a taste of the area’s buzzing art scene, complete with lunch recommendations close to each – but take note: it’s far from exhaustive. Also in the area and worth a visit are Galerias Raquel Arnaud, Impar, Moura Marsiaj, Concreta, Canvas-SP and Arterix.
Rua João Moura 997, Pinheiros.
Set inside a pair of townhouses, this unpretentious, influential gallery is dedicated to urban art, from graffiti artists to skateboard designers and printmakers. It has played a significant role in promoting the city’s street art, and if you find live-wire co-owner Baixo Ribeiro on the premises, you’ll come out wiser on this and many other subjects. Read more about Choque Cultural here.
- Lunch locally Buttina Fine Italian dining in a beautiful, airy space.
Rua Arthur de Azevedo 401, Jardim Paulista
In a versatile white space with a basement area that means two shows can run concurrently, Galeria Logo is a favourite with the skate/graffiti/meeja crowd, and got off to a flying start when it opened last year with a series of ambitious, large-scale shows. We particularly like Walter Nomura’s complex, colourful, messy paintings and Flávio Samelo’s striking photographs. Read more about Galeria Logo here.
- Lunch locally Arturito Stylish, sophisticated SP dining.
Rua Mateus Grou 355, Pinheiros
You might mistake this off-the-wall shop/gallery for a toy shop, with its window display full of dolls and fanciful insect models, which the Korean-born artist Sang crafts from Barbie parts, animal figurines and plastic soap containers. But for a more traditional gallery feel, head to the second floor to see the occasional shows of political and urban themed works by other artists, many of whom are also from Korea, or from other parts of South America. Read more about Galeria NuVEM here.
- Lunch locally Suri A deliciously contemporary twist on ceviche.
Rua Artur de Azevedo 986, Pinheiro
Don’t let the minimalist ground floor space fool you. The stairs lead to an arsenal of artworks, packed floor-to-ceiling with works from almost all of the fourteen artists on Paralelo’s roster. The gallery, open since 2010, invests in promising new artists like Spain’s Jesús Herrera, as well as seasoned practitioners like the British photographer Jamie Stewart-Granger, who lives in Bahia and whose sensitive photos of the area are simply exquisite. Read more about Paralelo Gallery here.
- Lunch locally Le Jazz Brasserie Great French fare at this highly popular spot.
Rua João Moura 417-419
A new arrival on the Pinheiros art circuit, Smith aims to resist the exclusive bent of swankier galleries and make itself a haven for art mavens and curious dabblers alike. High ceilings and a spacious back yard make it ideal for installations and larger works. And whatever the show of the moment, Smith dedicates its entire space to it – that’s three storeys of arty goodness. Read more about Smith Galeria here.
- Lunch locally Jun Sakamoto Deliriously expensive sushi – but some say it’s the best in town.